Tag Archives: CR

How to Build a Bridge

By Laura


Today the puppy classroom went on a field trip to the park. They tried to cross the river but discovered that part of the bridge had been washed away. Each puppy gathered a different material which they thought would work to make a bridge.


Yellow puppy tried to use two small sticks. The kids explained why this didn’t work:

“They’re wobbly.”

“And the bridge can’t reach the other side.”

“And they need two more.”

“They end too short.”


So, Orange tried a popsicle stick. There was some discussion of using this as surfboard to ride across the river. But when Orange tried to surf the current carried the puppy back to the same side of the river.

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Rocket Design

By Laura

For several weeks now, a large group of children have been playing rocket ship and space exploration. I have several large cardboard boxes in my garage that I have been saving for a dry, sunny week like this one. I am curious about how these materials will influence and expand their rocket play. Instead of simply bringing the boxes into The Commons, I decided to spend this morning doing some rocket plans and designs with a group of children who have been participating in this play.


I told them about the boxes and asked if they wanted to design how we could use them to make spaceships. They immediately got to work with joy, focus, and lots and lots of ideas.

I will be curious about how doing this preparation and design work beforehand will influence their ability to collaborate on one or two large-scale rockets tomorrow. Even though they were making individual drawings they were definitely inspired by each others ideas and common themes of seats, beds, radios, buttons, defense mechanisms, wheels, and means of propulsion were evident in their drawings. I’m looking forward to seeing how this 2-D design process will be translated into a 3-D construction tomorrow.

Guess Who?

By Laura

Today DH, OR, EF, CG, CR, and VH worked on clay self-portraits. Can you guess who made which portrait?


Learning a New Language

By Laura

The Reggio Emilia educators refer to different creative media as “languages.” To learn any new language takes a lot of time, a lot of practice, and a lot of free exploration. It also helps if the learner can connect this new language with one they already know. For example, recently I started taking an Italian class and I’m noticing how my study of Spanish (in high school!) is helping me connect to and feel more confident in my work with this brand new language. When working with clay for the first few times many children use the same methods, play themes and ideas they use when working with play dough. Yet as they continue to have time with clay they begin to notice the differences between these two languages. For example, clay is harder to squish and break apart than play dough, but this strength and firmness means that it can hold its shape better and allows you to carve and etch in it with tools.2016-01-261

Learning a new language is also a social endeavor. Children notice and inspire each other’s work with the medium, learning new techniques and ways of expressing themselves they may not have learned on their own. Today four children worked with the clay–two olders who have had more experiences with the language of clay and two youngers who were more recently introduced to it. When AH began making cakes and cupcakes, it inspired VLH to make her own ice cream treats, “Would you like vanilla or chocolate?” When CR made a flying rocket and moved it through space, SD was inspired to lift his own “blaster” into the air and manipulate it with his hands. 2016-01-26

Over time we will do more directed projects with the clay, including clay self portraiture. For now we are trying to give them lots of exposure to the medium in a playful, risk-free spaciousness, surrounded by inspiring friends and inviting tools. They are learning the qualities of the language; its tones, textures, and stories. They are learning its frustrations and drawbacks, too. They are learning what it feels like to have clay under their nails. They are learning what it feels like to squish it, smooth it, carve it, stack it and pinch it. They are learning what parts of themselves can be expressed most fully in this language. This takes immersion. Immersion take time.2016-01-2622016-01-263

“It seems like everyone knows someone who died.”

By Laura

DH adds the light in the lanterns of her bridge between the living and the dead.

DH adds the light in the lanterns on her bridge between the living and the dead.

Our continued work on the altar and the land of the living/ land of the dead project lead to several conversations about the subject of death. It is clear that we are giving space for children to talk openly with others as they think about this big concept:

RR: When you die. Which is a loooonnng time from now.

DH: Yeah, ’cause I’m going to live a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very long time.

RR: Yeah, you’re only four years old right now.


RR: I drew my mom’s dad. And my dad’s dad’s dad. My mom used to have a cat. . . . My people are visiting the land of the living.

OR: Are they dead?

RR: Yes. Do you know anyone who is dead?

OR: My great grandma.

RR: My mom was super sad when her dad died. But guess what? Her mom’s still alive.


CR: It seems like everyone knows someone who died. Why?

Laura: Every living thing has a turn to die, so many of us know a person or animal who has died.

CR: That’s bad.

Laura: You wish every person and animal could live forever?

CR: Uh-huh.